Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chinese New Year Meal #6 - Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce

I wanted to do something entirely new for our second to last Chinese New Year meal - no more Sichuan or Hunan dishes from Fuchsia Dunlop for at least the next few days.  And I have picked out a traditional Shanghai dish for our last Chinese New Year meal so I think we have done a pretty good job mixing things up this time.  I looked around for awhile before deciding that this dish fit my goal of trying a new dish really well.  We rarely made squid and when we do, we tend to make Mario Batali's Two-Minute Calamari Sicilian Lifeguard Style or some form of calamari salad.  We also rarely make anything with a black bean sauce.  We buy fermented black beans and use them for a number of dishes, but they are usually only one of many flavoring components.  And black bean sauce is such a classic Chinese sauce that I find it hard to believe that we have made so many dishes without ever making black bean sauce.  So this was an interesting alternative.

Let's see.  What were my thoughts on the meal?  I thought the squid was really tender and the dish had a very different flavor from everything else we made for Chinese New Year.  I was really happy with both of those things.  However, I didn't think the flavors were that amazing.  I would say they were...pretty good.  I'm still going to consider this dish a win because it was a new technique (poor Alex was in charge of scoring the calamari so that it curled up all nice and pretty), a new sauce, and a new flavor that we threw into the mix.

Recipe after the jump!

Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
By Grace Young

1 pound fresh cleaned squid
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed
1 tablespoon chopped scallion, white part only
1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 teaspoons finely shredded ginger
1/2 cup julienned red bell peppers
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
12 snow peas, strings removed

Cut each squid body in half lengthwise. Using a very sharp knife, lightly score the inside of the bodies in a crisscross pattern. Cut the squid into 1-1/2-inch squares and the tentacles into 2-inch pieces.

In a 2-quart saucepan bring 1 quart water to a boil covered over high heat. Add the squid and blanch 10 seconds or until the squid turns opaque and curl. Drain well in a colander, shaking out all the excess water. Set the squid on paper towels and blot dry to remove excess moisture. In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. In another small bowl combine the sesame oil, cornstarch, and the remaining 1 tablespoon broth.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the peanut oil, add the fermented black beans, scallion, and garlic and stir-fry 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant. Add the onions and ginger and stir-fry 1 minute or until the onions just wilt. Add the bell peppers, sprinkle on the salt and pepper, and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the bell pepper begins to soften. Add the rice wine and stir-fry 20 seconds or until just combined. Add the squid and snow peas to the wok, swirl in the soy sauce mixture, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the snow peas are bright green. Restir the cornstarch mixture, swirl it into the wok, and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the squid is just cooked.

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